Wellness Core canned dog food earns the Advisor’s highest rating of 5 stars.
The Wellness Core product line includes six canned dog foods, three claimed to meet AAFCO nutrient profiles for adult maintenance, two for all life stages (*) and one for growth (Puppy).
The following is a list of recipes available at the time of this review.
- Wellness Core Puppy
- Wellness Core Weight Maintenance
- Wellness Core Beef, Venison and Lamb
- Wellness Core Turkey, Pork Liver and Duck
- Wellness Core Salmon, Whitefish and Herring*
- Wellness Core Turkey, Chicken Liver and Turkey Liver*
Wellness Core Turkey, Chicken Liver and Turkey Liver was selected to represent both products for this review.
Wellness Core Turkey, Chicken Liver and Turkey Liver
Canned Dog Food
Estimated Dry Matter Nutrient Content
Ingredients: Chicken, turkey, chicken liver, chicken broth, chicken meal, turkey liver, sweet potatoes, carrageenan, guar gum, carrots, apples, spinach, parsley, blueberries, broccoli, kale, ground flaxseed, salmon oil, salt, chicory root extract, Yucca schidigera extract, potassium chloride, iron proteinate, zinc proteinate, choline chloride, vitamin E supplement, cobalt proteinate, copper proteinate, manganese proteinate, riboflavin supplement, sodium selenite, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin A supplement, vitamin B-12 supplement, potassium iodide, biotin, vitamin D-3 supplement
Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 2.3%
Red items when present indicate controversial ingredients
|Estimated Nutrient Content|
|Dry Matter Basis||55%||36%||1%|
|Calorie Weighted Basis||38%||61%||1%|
The first ingredient in this dog food includes chicken. Chicken is considered “the clean combination of flesh and skin… derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken”.1
Chicken is naturally rich in the ten essential amino acids required by a dog to sustain life.
The second ingredient is turkey, a meat with a nutritional profile similar to chicken.
The third ingredient is chicken liver. This is an organ meat sourced from a named animal and thus considered a beneficial component.
The fourth ingredient lists chicken broth. Broths are nutritionally empty. However, because they add moisture to a dog food they are a common finding in many canned products.
The fifth ingredient is chicken meal. Chicken meal is considered a meat concentrate and contains nearly 300% more protein than fresh chicken.
The sixth ingredient is turkey liver, another named organ meat.
The seventh item lists sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are a gluten-free source of complex carbohydrates in a dog food. They are naturally rich in dietary fiber and beta carotene.
The eight ingredient lists carrageenan, a gelatin-like thickening agent extracted from seaweed. Although carrageenan has been used as a food additive for hundreds of years, there does appear to be some recent controversy regarding its long term biological safety.
The ninth ingredient is guar gum, a gelling or thickening agent found in many wet pet foods. Refined from dehusked guar beans, guar gum can add a notable amount of dietary fiber to any product.
From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.
But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to have much of an effect on the overall quality of this product.
With three notable exceptions…
First, chicory root is rich in inulin, a starch-like compound made up of repeating units of carbohydrates and found in certain roots and tubers.
Not only is inulin a natural source of soluble dietary fiber, it’s also a prebiotic used to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in a dog’s digestive tract.
Next, salmon oil is naturally rich in the prized EPA and DHA type of omega-3 fatty acids. These two high quality fats boast the highest bio-availability to dogs and humans.
Depending on its level of freshness and purity, salmon oil should be considered a commendable addition.
And lastly, this food also contains chelated minerals, minerals that have been chemically attached to protein. This makes them easier to absorb. Chelated minerals are usually found in better dog foods.
Wellness Core Canned Dog Food
The Bottom Line
Judging by its ingredients alone, Wellness Core canned dog food looks to be an above-average wet product.
But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 54% and a mean fat level of 32%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 6% for the overall product line.
And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 59%.
Above-average protein. Above-average fat. And very low carbs when compared to a typical canned dog food.
With no sign of any plant-based protein concentrates, this is the profile of a wet food containing an abundance of meat.
However, based upon the recipes’ protein and fat content reported on the label, we find it difficult to explain the extremely low carb estimate generated by our system.
Could this unusually low figure suggest the protein or fat may be overstated by Wellness?
Wellness Core is a grain-free canned food using a generous amount of named fish or poultry as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 5 stars.
However, those desiring a lower fat content for their pet’s diet may wish to look elsewhere for a another product.
Rice ingredients can sometimes contain arsenic. Until the US FDA establishes safe upper levels for arsenic content, pet owners may wish to limit the total amount of rice fed in a dog's daily diet.
A Final Word
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Notes and Updates
11/17/2009 Original review
12/21/2012 Last Update
- Association of American Feed Control Officials ↩